Saturday, May 14, 2011

St Stephen, Westbourne Park, Paddington, London

Thursday saw me with an afternoon free in London. Armed with my travelcard I hopped on a number 36 from Paddington to Westbourne Park Road and St Stephen's church. The church was built in 1855-56 to the designs of F & H Francis. W Bassett Smith did some alterations in c1900 including adding the apse. Pevsner (London 3) says its future is uncertain, but the church has revived from "near dereliction" a few years ago to being a vibrant part of its community. The west door sports a lovely metalwork screen and is now glazed. The porch leads into a community area which occupies the west bay of the nave (gallery above) with further rooms above in the west bays of the aisles. All in all one of the better subdivisions I have seen, with the main vistas left intact. The church is incredibly lofty, and strangely the arcades collide with the west tower's buttresses which suggests the length of the nave was curtailed before the tower was built. Its spire has gone. The interior otherwise rather bare but with some good stained glass, the best imho being in the tower's west window.

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